In 1880, Edwin A. Abbott wrote Flatland, a book that would later become a favorite of Albert Einstein. Abbott was a college-trained mathematician and a theologian; in fact he was actually better known for his theological writings than for Flatland. Later on Einstein would say that “things should be made as simple as possible, not simpler.” In other words, don’t dumb-down the concept, but state it on a level where more people can grasp it. That’s why, I believe, Einstein loved Flatland.
Flatland is told through the eyes of Square, a two-dimensional shape that lives in Flatland. Square has length and width, but no height. So the inhabitants of Flatland can move back-and-forth, and side-to-side, but not up-and-down. To get an idea of this, put your eye right on the level of a tabletop, and look at an item on the table. Imagine you can only see what is touching the tabletop (but nothing that rises any higher or lower than that), and you will get an idea of Square’s two-dimensional world.
One day Sphere visits Flatland. Sphere is three-dimensional, so he can move up-and-down. This means that Square can only see the part of Sphere that happens to be in his line of sight at that immediate moment. So he sees just a “slice” or “layer” of Sphere as Sphere moves through Flatland. Sometimes Sphere is nothing more than a disembodied voice when he is hovering above Flatland.
This gives us a little bit of an idea of how we perceive God. He exists in dimensions that we cannot fully comprehend, so we only see “slices” of Him as He passes though our line of sight. Sometimes He is just a disembodied Voice—or as the Bible calls Him, the Word of God.
But the Word of God compressed Himself into our dimension (John 1:14). All of the fullness—all of the other-dimension-ness—of His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience came to our “level” in the Person of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:6-7). The Word was the complete and total fullness of God (John 1:1-3; Colossians 2:9). But unlike Square who couldn’t fully know Sphere, God is fully knowable in The Word… in Jesus Christ!
The question is: What are you going to do with The Word? The Word of God (the Bible) allows us to fully know The Word of God (Jesus). But we need to be willing to let the Holy Spirit strip away our puny, smaller-dimensioned, finite thinking of God.
Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
I would modify this to say, “Those illiterate of The Word (Jesus) are not those who cannot read The Word (the Bible), but those who won’t let the Holy Spirit help them learn, unlearn, and relearn who God is.”
There is so much more to learn about The Word (Jesus), so let the Holy Spirit guide you in your reading of The Word (the Bible). I pray as Paul did that you will begin to experience more of the multi-dimensional-ness of God as revealed in The Word—
I pray that out of God’s glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
Next Sunday I’ll be continuing my series called Who Is Jesus? I hope you can join me!